A Debt Relief Order (DRO) is a quicker, cheaper and simpler route to enter Bankruptcy. The DRO is available to people living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The DRO was introduced on the 6th April 2009 and the rules were updated on the 1st October 2015. The Scottish alternative is known as the minimal asset process. If you have more than £50 disposable income on a monthly basis you would suitable for a different debt solution including an IVA or Debt Management Plan. 

You are able to apply for the DRO without attending court, the cost is £90 which is payable to the official receiver. This is charged at the beginning of the solution, after which there is no monthly payment unless you circumstances change. The DRO is designed for people with low income, low assets and low levels of debt. The debt solution was designed to help people who fall into this category enter bankruptcy in a more affordable manner.

Debt Relief Order Criteria 

To be applicable for the debt relief order a person must;

– Not have unsecured debt exceeding £30,000

– Not have any assets exceeding £1,000

– Not own your property (This includes having a mortgaged property)

– Not have available disposable Income after normal household expenditure exceeding £50

– Be domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland or in the last 3 years have been resident or carrying on business in England, Wales or Northern Ireland

– Not have been subject to a DRO within the last 6 years

Also, you cannot apply for a DRO if you are currently bankrupt, in an IVA or have a current Bankruptcy Restrictions Order or Undertakings or have current Debt Relief Restrictions or undertakings.

A debt relief order (DRO) is a route into bankruptcy which will affect your credit rating.

Debt Relief Orders FAQs

Bailiffs can still enforce criminal fines or child maintenance arrears as these debts cannot be included. If there is a controlled goods agreement in place, you may have to keep paying this as the goods could be removed. However for all other debt they are no longer able to demand payment or take any further court action against you.

Debt relief orders are available to help people on low income. If they have less than £50 a month left over after paying all their essential bills then they may be suitable.

A default will go on your credit score and it will be there for 6 years.

There is a one off initial payment of £90.00. This is to set up the solution and is payable to the Official Receiver. This is charged when you enter the solution. After that there is no monthly payment unless your circumstances change or you come into a windfall.

12 months, after that period of time the creditors are obliged to write the debt off.


It all depends on your personal situation as to what one you are suitable for. However, if you were suitable for both then a DRO would be the better option as it is the cheapest option.

If you owe the bank you are currently using, even if it is an overdraft, then the answer is yes.

No, it is only suitable for residents residing in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. Scotland has a similar debt solution called the minimal asset process.